Considering a duck....pond keepers please respond!!!

Discussion in 'Ducks' started by sjshaw1980, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. sjshaw1980

    sjshaw1980 Songster

    Aug 18, 2012
    New Jersey
    Hello everyone! I am a backyard chicken enthusiast, possibly looking to add one khaki campbell to my flock along with a few pekin or muscovys for meat (short term project). Unfortunately, I'm still not 100% sure I am ready to add a duck, and my poor husband is (passively) against it. We are hesitating wholly because of the mess and possible damage to our pond.

    Here is the situation, we have 1/4 acre, half of which is fenced and where my 7 girls free range all day and where the duck would also be allowed free reign to do as she pleases. We built an enclosed run for the girls, but will probably upgrade their digs to a "poulet chalet" this summer so they will have more room to spread out at night, and so we can install a light and heating for the winter. I am assuming Ducky would want to sleep in the new hen house, and we are also planning to add three more pullets (shhh! Don't tell the neighbors!) So that would make a total of 10 chickens plus one duck on our property.

    We have gardens, and a husband-made koi pond with waterfall, it's about 10' x 12' x 3' deep, and we have koi and comets in it; in total its about 900 gallons. This pond is situated right next to our garden, caddy corner to the chicken run and very accessible to any of the critters. Ducky would undoubtedly be wanting to play in it.

    What we are worried about is this...if we add one laying duck, will she likely destroy the pond? We have lilies and potted stuff in there, but we also get that nasty string algae and toads and frogs like to hang out and lay their eggs in the pond as well. We like our little ecosystem (but for the string algae) and are worried that the extra "nutrients" in the water from duck poop will (a) produce unwanted algal blooms, (b) cloud it so we can't see the fish, and (c) eventually cause chemical imbalances which will kill our fish. Sorry but a 15" koi is worth a lot more than a duck.

    Have any of you fellow pond and duck keepers had any experience with this? Does duck poop enhance a pond's natural ecosystem (i.e. do the fish eat it?) or is it likely to cause a fatal nitrate/nitrite/ammonia imbalance? What we have now is a biofilter type setup with beneficial bacteria and the mix is perfect. We backwash the sludge once every 4 months, our water is crystal clear and chemistry is right on target. If a duck will only muck it up (literally and figuratively) then we are not going for it.

    Any advice or stories from experience would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for reading!

  2. jdywntr

    jdywntr Songster

    Oct 31, 2009
    Somerville, AL
    Hi. Congrats on considering ducks. Unfortunately, one duck will be a lonely duck, even with chicken companions. She would be happiest with at least one companion. Some ducks will bond with chickens if raised together but it would be unlikely (not impossible) for a new duck to bond with your chickens. Ducks, with the exception of muscovy, don't roost so if kept with the chickens, you would need an area for ducks to sleep.

    Any duck would want to swim and play in the pond. One or two ducks wouldn't do a great deal of damage (maybe) but things would not be pristine. Most duck keepers don't have ponds with pumps because they get nasty and pumps clog.

    Ducks will eat algae. And plants, fish, snails etc.
  3. mustang56

    mustang56 Songster

    Jan 4, 2012
    I have a pond about the exact size of yours with several Koi...
    I want a few ducks also.....but to be honest, I wouldn't want them using my Koi pond,
    it's hard enough to keep it clean with just the Koi...
    I don't know if it's a good or bad idea.....but I think I would get another pond or
    swimming pool just for my ducks..
    Good luck to you....! I'll keep reading to see what other's say...!!
  4. ChristineR

    ChristineR Songster

    Jun 15, 2011
    WA state
    Ducks are pretty messy. It sounds like your koi and keeping your pond nice is a top priority to you. For that reason, I would probably say you shouldn't get ducks. Hopefully, someone that has a pond like yours will respond with how many ducks/gallon would possibly work.

    Aside from the water quality issue, they will make mud along the side of it (they like to "dabble" and quickly drill holes bigger than you might think such a small bird could make). I use kiddie pools that I dump every day for my ducks and geese. They get filthy fast; within a couple hours they are full of dirt and poop. Ducks will also eat the frogs, frog eggs, and tadpoles, so if you want to maintain the status quo, it's probably not a good idea to introduce ducks. They couldn't eat a 15" koi, but that might not stop them from harrassing the fish.

    Also, wanted to add that a single duck won't be happy. You'd need to get a friend for her. Sorry to be such a downer. I love my ducks, but it can't be overstated how messy they are.

  5. sjshaw1980

    sjshaw1980 Songster

    Aug 18, 2012
    New Jersey
    Glad to hear I am not the only one in this little pickle Mustang! [​IMG]
  6. mustang56

    mustang56 Songster

    Jan 4, 2012
    SJ, I'd pick out an area just for the ducks.....and get a nice size kiddy pool that I could lift and dump when needed.
    Sounds like you have alot of work and a few dollars spent on the pond..... Unless someone here who has experience
    with ducks not tearing up the pond and Koi, I wouldn't let the ducks near my
    My husband also has alot of plants and pond lilies that they may or may not destroy...
    He'd be really mad at me if they tore up his plants...!
    Have a great day..... Good Luck =)
  7. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Duck LOVE pond plants. They won't bother large Koi, but they would want to eat any spry, small fish, frogs, frog eggs and tadpoles. I had two ponds where I used to live and the added fertilizer threw the balanced ecosystem off in a big way.

    I now have two kiddie pools and a large stock tank (300 gallons) but I have 26 ducks and two geese (along with 50-some chickens and two turkeys). I am going to have a pond built (15 X 10) so the geese don't have to swim in small circles and more than six ducks can swim at a time. I have found a heavy-duty filter to use which should handle larger debris, but the only fish I'll add will be goldfish and maybe some rosy minnows just for the ducks to catch. Cheap entertainment, and there will be hiding places so some gold fish MAY survive and grow large enough to avoid being duck snacks.

    But if I understand your situation, you might not want ducks if damage to your koi pond is an issue.

  8. ohiofarmboy

    ohiofarmboy In the Brooder

    Dec 28, 2012
    south west ohio
    I totally agree with mustang56. A kiddy pool would be a fairly easy and inexpensive solution. I wouldn't want any ducks around my coy pond or plants either!
  9. fancyfowl4ever

    fancyfowl4ever Songster

    Mar 17, 2008
    Cranbrook, BC, Canada
    Even if the koi are too large to eat, the duck will try. My bantam ducks killed all my 12' or so fish just by trying to eat them..... One of the fish they even ended up dragging out of the pond and attempted to pick it to pieces on the lawn.... Let me tell you the family was not very impressed to see all the good fish dead and mauled.

    Get the ducks a kiddie pool and some feeder goldfish and they will be over the moon happy, just fence them AWAY from the Koi Pond.

  10. nor cal redneck

    nor cal redneck Hatching

    Mar 18, 2015
    all that i have read is a trail in a different direction and to answer your question "do fish eat duck poop?" the answer is yes. most fish farmers feed the fish a majority of duck, chicken, and pig poop mixed with other ingredients.
    I have a 20x40x10 ft pond with about 20 ducks as well as minnows and channel catfish, and all doing great

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